For most women, having a PAP Smear test done is embarrassing. But for those suffering with vaginismus, vaginal dryness, vaginal atrophy, or dealing with sexual abuse issues, the embarrassing smear test can be outright painful and traumatizing.
Although healthcare professionals use lubricants during the smear testing, and in some cases (such as for vaginismus sufferers), numbing creams to help minimize the pain and discomfort, too many women just don’t get tested.
It has been well documented that having a regular smear test done can save your life, but as each year passes, more and more women are opting out of getting tested.
Well, the good news is…
Urine tests May Soon be Replacing
the Embarrassing Smear Test
Due to the declining rates of women having their regular embarrassing smear test done, researchers have been busy working on a new non-intrusive way to screen for cervical cancer.
A simple urine test. The same urine test that is used for testing for the HPV (human papillomavirus virus).
A BIT ABOUT HPV & CANCER
There are more than 150 types of the (HPV) human papilloma virus. Some types of HPV are known to cause cancer, including cancers of the:
- Cervix (the base of the womb at the top of the vagina),
- Vulva (the area around the outside of the vagina),
- Parts of the mouth and throat.
You can get HPV if you have ever been sexually active, even if you haven’t had sex. Genital HPV is usually spread through skin on skin contact. It is not known to be spread through blood or body fluids.
Not all types of HPV lead to cancer, in-fact some HPV infections go away by themselves. You can learn more here.
She said that if your HPV test is negative, your risk of having cancer is profoundly low.
April 2019 – New Research Suggests Urine Test Maybe
Just as Effective as a Smear Test for
Cervical Cancer Screening
This study was led by Dr Emma Crosbie (Manchester University) and was published in the BMJ Open.
The conclusion of the study found that urine testing was just about as good as the cervical smear at picking up high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes cervical cancer.
In other words – The embarrassing smear test is only slightly more sensitive in regards to the testing.
The researchers see this as a breakthrough at saving more lives and an encouragement for more women to want to have regular screening.
However, they also acknowledged more larger scale trials are needed to fully confirm their current findings.
You can read the BMJ Open research paper here or see a break down of it in the Science Daily.
Ladies, please NOTE: This new form of screening for cervical cancer is still in the trial period. Currently, there is no indication when we will see this new form of testing rolled out into healthcare facilities. It could be weeks, months, or years away.
In the meantime…
If you are due or overdue to have your smear test done, please have it done. It could save your life.
If you have vaginismus, or vaginal dryness you can ask for extra lubricant, and for numbing cream to be applied as well.
If they are using a metal speculum you can also ask them to heat the speculum under warm water, so the coldness of it doesn’t cause you further discomfort.
If your medical professional won’t do any of the above, find another one that will.
You could also ask for these things at the time you make your appointment.
You may also Like:
Do It Yourself Cancer Screening Smear Test Trialing In NZ
Article brought to you by Ms Tight (June 2019)
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“(DISCLAIMER: I am not a health care professional, the information in this article is based on my own personal experience of living with vaginismus, vaginal atrophy (including menopause issues), and what I have learned along the way. Some articles on this website will include other womanly issues that I feel women need to know about. If you have any concerns about your health, it is best for you to seek advice from a health care professional – Full disclaimer)“.